Published in Finance
Left: McKeel Hagerty, Right: Tim Streit Left: McKeel Hagerty, Right: Tim Streit COURTESY PHOTO

Grand Ventures closes on $28 million fundraising round

BY Tuesday, October 01, 2019 12:49pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Venture capital fund Grand Ventures has closed on $28 million that was raised for its first fund.

Grand Ventures Fund I LP targets promising early-stage investments in tech companies in the Midwest involved in business enterprise software for advanced manufacturing, agriculture and food, transportation and mobility, and other industries. The fund expects to invest in 15 to 20 companies over five years, said Tim Streit, co-founder and managing partner of Grand Rapids-based Grand Ventures.

The fund attracted more than 60 investors with a combination of individuals and family offices, Streit said. Most of the early investors came from West Michigan. Grands Venture also was able to attract investors from the East Coast and West Coast, as well as Texas.

“It’s actually a pretty diverse group,” Streit said. “We have investors from all over the place. It validates that others are recognizing the opportunity that we see in the Midwest.”

As well, the six portfolio companies Grand Ventures invested in since 2017 are performing “at a very high level,” which contributed to the success of the fundraising, Streit said. Grand Ventures invested a combined $6 million in those deals, he said.

The fund most recently was part of a $5.7 million investment in Cincinnati, Ohio-based Astronomer Inc., which provides a platform for clients to collect and analyze data.

Along with the capital, Grand Ventures brings a network of advisers comprised of current or former executives “who add value to the portfolio companies” by serving in mentorship or board roles, Streit said. The adviser network also helps Grand Ventures to source and perform due diligence on prospective investments, he said.

“They just have a wealth of knowledge,” Streit said of executives in the advisory network. “We have collectively hundreds of years of business and leadership experience that is coming together to support the fund and our portfolio companies.”

Streit founded Grand Ventures in 2017 with McKeel Hagerty, the CEO of Traverse City-based Hagerty Insurance Agency Inc., which insures classic cars. Hagerty leads Grand Ventures’ adviser network, which consists of executives from more than 50 companies.

Hagerty is also the former chairman of the board for YPO, an organization of CEOs.

“The visionary leaders I’ve met through YPO have played a huge role in my growth as a leader,” said Hagerty, whose own company has grown from 30 employees to more than 1,200 today. “We promise the companies we fund the same type of impactful, real-world advice from our outstanding roster of C-suite executives, proven sector leaders and investors, and we believe this is a difference-maker in the companies we attract and the returns we can generate.”

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